Appeals court reopens Apple vs. Samsung case over iPhone’s patented design

By , Jan 13, 2017

Believe it or not, the longstanding Apple vs. Samsung patent spat over iPhone’s iconic design is now in its sixth year. During that time, Samsung was found guilty of infringing upon Apple’s patented smartphone design, including iPhone’s rectangular front face with rounded metal edges and a grid of colorful icons on a black screen.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reopened that lawsuit yesterday after a recommendation from the U.S. Supreme Court to determine how much Samsung should pay the Cupertino firm over copying iPhone’s look and feel, according to court documents uncovered by Law360.com.

A month ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Samsung won’t be held liable for the $399 million awarded to Apple in a previous lower court ruling because the damages were calculated based on Samsung’s entire profit from the sale of Galaxy smartphones.

This new decision means that the court must now decide on the amount of damages Samsung must pay based on either the total device, or rather individual components such as the front bezel or the screen. The iPhone maker has commented that the decision will “again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right.”

Should Samsung be held liable for blatantly copying iPhone’s design with its Galaxy S handset? That’s the question on many people’s minds and the topic of heated debate between intellectual property advocates and those who think that a rectangular with a metal frame should not be patentable.

For what it’s worth, a 1949 study found that more than 99 percent of Americans were able to identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by its shape alone, signifying the importance of memorable brand and product designs.

In August 2016, 100+ renowned designers, including Calvin Klein and Dieter Rams, filed an amicus brief in support of Apple, arguing the firm should be entitled to all the profits Samsung has earned from infringing upon iPhone’s patented designs.

Source: Law360.com

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  • Micki

    I totally agree that apple should keep all the profits that Samsung made with its S series phones. It’s basically a copy.

    • jOn Garrett

      A copy of what, the Prada phone or the Sony phone that Apple copied?

      If the Galaxy S was a copy, why did Apple’s lawyers doctor the evidence and only show the Galaxy S with the app tray open?

      And what are you going to call the next iPhone with;

      Curved edge AMOLED display, wireless charging, fast wireless charging water and dust resistance?

      Then after that, the iPhone with all that and fingerprint scanner under the display and the home button removed?

      If we give Apple app of the Galaxy S profits, should we also give Samsung all of Apple’s profits for ripping off the edge?

  • Iskren Donev

    I suppose that the fairest approach would be if Apple had some sort of exclusivity period for its design during which time other companies would have to pay royalties to Apple if they want to use their design.

    But at the end of the day I do think that the rounded rectangle design needs to be accepted as a given at some point. Just like prior to 2007 no-one was found to be infringing on the classic mobile phone keypad design, after 2020 (for example), no-one should be forced to pay Apple royalties for a design that is clearly the way to go.